"To be completely honest with you, I didn't expect [to be picked this high]," said Umenyiora, who visited the Giants about a week before the draft. "I'm surprised I got picked his high, but I'm not surprised the Giants took me."
"He's a guy we had targeted," Giants Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese said. "This guy really, really impressed us at his pro workout."
The Giants were seeking more speed off the defensive edge and they got it. At 6-3, 278, Umenyiora (pronounced yu-min-yur-uh) clocked a 4.78 40-yard dash.
"This kid can run," Reese said. "He has a lot of physical tools. We felt like this guy has a big upside. This kid has a chance to be a very good player."
The solid straight-ahead rusher posted 276 tackles and 25 sacks in his Troy State career.
"My upside and my potential is something that can't be coached," he said. "I think I'm a natural pass-rusher."
"Of all the guys on the board, our scouts felt like he had the best chance to be an outstanding player," Head Coach Jim Fassel said.
Umenyiora is obviously excited about coming to the Big Apple. He described the opportunity to play with Michael Strahan as "ridiculously beautiful."
Born in London, Umenyiora moved to Nigeria before settling in Alabama, where he didn't begin playing football until junior year of high school. The 21-year-old will start his Giants career as a situational pass-rusher and special teams player while he develops into a full-time defensive end.
"They picked me pretty high so they expect me to come in and play a little bit," he said.
Umenyiora didn't expect to be picked so high
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